RevOps, Education, Event

42 Min Read

RevOpsAF Conference Part 2

RevOps Co-op's RevOpsAF conference was recently held in San Diego, as the first RevOps Conference created by RevOps Professionals for the RevOps Community. I wrote about the first few sessions I attended in part 1 of this series. Today's post continues with additional Day 1 sessions I attended.

Sessions in this post:

There will be one more post with the remaining sessions I attended.

Why proving customer value is no longer optional, from Daphne Costa Lopes

Daphne Costa Lopes, Director of Customer Success at HubSpot, came from Dublin to teach us about customer value and customer growth for software companies. In her LinkedIn post about the event, she gave kudos to RevOps Co-op for putting an entire Customer Success track on this RevOps conference. "Too often CS is the forgotten child of the GTM and RevOps (but thatโ€™s when RevOps is just SalesOps 2.0)." Fun note: you can find me in the FOMO slide in the LinkedIn post ๐Ÿ˜‚!

Daphne talked about how when she asks companies what growth means to them, she receives many different answers, depending on their stage and business model.

One thing is always true: customers are the center of growth.

Growing a customer is 25 times cheaper than gaining a new customer!

She discussed how connected growth combines customer, personal, and company value, where customer value is greater than company value, which is greater than personal value.

 This means that when you're solving for the customer, you're solving for the entire value chain (solving for the company, and for yourself).

The usual metrics for growth do not tell you how good you are at delivering your promises to the customer. There are no leading indicators for this type of growth.

Daphne talked about how people (your customers) now are reevaluating the tech stack in this economy. They need to consolidate value more, which means you need to articulate your product's value more.


How to increase revenue without hiring more people

Daphne said this customer journey is based on research of small businesses and medium businesses:

  1. People are discovering, or gaining awareness of, the problem or need to increase their company's revenue
  2. They think a CRM might solve this problem, and they decide on your CRM, go through your sales process, then make a bet on your product and purchase it.
  3. They implement the CRM and efficiencies in the sales process
  4. Sales productivity increases. The customer sees a leading indication they chose the right strategy (buying the CRM).
  5. Revenue increases. They see the return on investment for buying the CRM.
  6. Now the business is growing so they have a need to hire more people, and they now have revenue to hire, so your customer has a need for more licenses or advanced functionality of your CRM. This increases your company's revenue.

Most companies are not measuring steps four and five here, and missing an opportunity.



Not many companies are measuring customer productivity and when the revenue of customers increases.

Even if they have Customer Success Managers who talk about value, maybe with a sentiment metric of 'healthy.'

That is not a scalable way of measuring customer outcomes.

 You don't know:

  •  If you're delivering value
  •  If you can create a service model
  •  The time to value for the customer

You don't hear CROs say, 'I know where we are with every deal, but I just need a sales rep to click through the CRM and tell me where we are...' So why do we accept that with customer value and customer success managers?

Health scores

In her consulting, she asks clients how good their health score is at predicting churn. 

Most customer health scores are green when they cancel because the scores are usually only looking at a few actions the customer is taking inside the product. So the health scores are NOT good at predicting churn.

Daphne calls these scores a watermelon: green on the outside and red on the inside.

The customers are not seeing the value in your product.

How to truly measure customer success

Measure customer outcomes.

Use the 'jobs to be done' by Clayton Christensen.

Once you find the market fit, when you are developing products that help real people solve real problems, then focus on making the customers more successful with the product. 

For jobs to be done:

To "increase revenue" you have a few jobs to do, such as:

  1. Increase or generate demand 
  2. Close sales

Break the jobs down into stories, such as how you need website traffic, conversion paths, and lead scoring for job #1.

Then connect metrics to the story, since we need to be consistent in the way we measure customer success across the customer journey. As we discussed earlier, usually, customer success makes their own metrics, such as health scores, which are not good. Or if all teams are looking at different things right now and silos are present -- this is also not helpful for customer success.

For job #1, demand generation, the metric may be # of MQLs (marketing qualified leads).

Then if your teams are driving toward that one North Star -- customer value-- you can deliver the same model to them and track time to value, using cohorts of similar customers.

Because you can't improve what you don't measure, as Peter Drucker says.

Or as Daphne says:


Top reasons customers churn

  1.  No ROI (return on investment)
    1. Customers are not seeing the value in your product, which can be masked as different reasons like moving to competitors (since your product isn't solving the problem) or saying they can't afford it (since it's not delivering value)
  2. Not knowing the value they get 
    1. You need to measure the customers' return on investment so you can prove and communicate the value. At HubSpot, CEO Yamini Rangan can say HubSpot helps customers increase deal conversion by 109% this year... because HubSpot measures that.

Customer-Led Growth

Create champions by delivering value, so when your customers leave their current company for their new job, they say they need your product at the new job (referrals). This fuels the customer-led growth flywheel. You will earn the opportunity to sell more to your customers.




How can RevOps help create and scale customer-led growth

  1. Capture customer goals in your app or the CRM
    1. They all have goals, probably just a few similar ones, you can use a drop-down menu of choices
    2. Break the goals down into jobs to be done, then into stories, and then into tasks for each persona. Getting all the way to a persona will take a while, but you have to collect goals and personas in the system to get there.

  2. Design a value delivery journey
    1. See Daphne's CS Master Class on the This is Growth podcast for more details.

  3. Design Smart Systems
    1. There are so many data points to capture, such as goals, persona, usage, firmographics, age, segmentation, engagement, etc. Start to capture them in one system.
    2. Put the data through AI or a machine learning model to assess where the customer is in the journey, so you can prioritize giving them a high-touch human or a digital interaction. (A tool can do this, no need to build it from scratch)

The network effect

If you are measuring customer outcomes, you will get the network effect -- when the value of the product increases because of the number of users using it.

You can look at what successful customers are doing and use that as a blueprint to grow your customers. Turn those insights into best practices to feed to them automatically and manually as needed.

Customers will often ask, "How are other customers doing this?" to validate where they are.

Customers will sign up for your product with similar goals, as mentioned earlier, so you can give new customers recommendations based on previous similar customers who had similar goals they achieved, the top performers in the industry.

This is similar to the success of large consumer companies with recommendation engines, such as:

  • 2 years ago, Amazon said 50% of what customers buy comes from the smart recommendations
  • $1 billion in customer churn was prevented by the recommendations engine at Netflix

Where to start

  •  Define customer outcomes
  •  Customer let growth
  •  Scale with machine learning


Why CRM is no longer the source of truth, from Darrell Alfonso

Darrell Alfonso, Director of Marketing Strategy and Operations at, is very good at taking complex topics and breaking them down into digestible, accessible ideas, which was one of his goals for this session. I was glad it was a goal since I knew almost nothing about data warehouses at the beginning of this session. I came to learn! 


What is a single source of truth?

  • A data strategy consolidating all data into one place
  • Access to real-time, accurate information

This is like how all mobile phones everywhere are referencing the same server clocks from the Navy, so the time is aligned on every device.

A perfect system with all data that is 100% accurate is a myth, but moving toward that is a good goal.

The problem with having no single source of truth is a loss of trust, reliability, and credibility in data and reporting.

Darrell gave an example of bonfire coordination. If you have five bonfire coordinators, you will have conflicting information, a lot of calls, a big mess, no one knows anything about what's happening with the bonfire such as when is it, where is it...

 Benefits of a single source of truth include:

  •  70% of leaders say it leads to better decisions. You're not going to have to talk to all the people to get the information.
  •  20% gain in reporting efficiency
  •  30% increase in transparency

Using a CRM as a single source of truth

It can be OK to use a CRM as a single source of truth if:

  • Most data already lives in the CRM
  • You're at a sales-driven business like a consultancy
  • It's an early startup with just a few customers
  • You need it there to help fix all alignment between sales and marketing
  • You don't have a data analyst or engineering help

The downsides of using the CRM as a single source of truth:

  • The CRM has limited data scope. Companies that have customer data for platform/app usage -- where do you put that in the CRM? It overflows, even using custom objects.
  • A CRM can be inflexible. There is too much hacking, such as using fields as a proxy for something else to trigger an action. 

Hacks don't scale.

  • A CRM intentionally adds limitations, from a cost and functionality standpoint. Such as limits on joins, objects, or data refreshing cadences to reserve processing power.
  • A CRM does not support deep data analysis
  • A can be cost-prohibitive to grow, in the size of records (my attempt at an example here would be HubSpot's marketing contacts, where you pay more for having more contact records in the CRM)

 Using a data warehouse as a single source of truth

  • It's accessible โ€“ it democratizes data so anyone can run reports
  • It's affordable
  • It's flexible

How do you bring the single source of truth to life?


The data is transferred from multiple systems, such as your CRM, into the staging area ETL (extraction, transformation, loading) and into the data warehouse (sometimes it goes into a data lake first). Then you can start to report on interesting things using insights from multiple systems, such as opportunities from customers who have taken certain actions for certain teams.

Next, you need to move data back into the original (or different) tools for activation. You don't just keep it in storage in the warehouse for reporting. Reporting is just looking at the data in different ways, not taking action.

'Activate' means doing something with the data to lead to an outcome. The action is often contacting somebody or advertising to them.

Activating uses a reverse ETL, which is more complex than just storage of the data. Bringing the data back into apps is trickier since each app is different.

Besides CRMs and data warehouses, Darrell shared a few other tool options that companies might use as a single source of truth, but they may have limited success.

Data teams

I liked that people were discussed in this session, and not just tools and data! 

Darrell discussed the potential team and role organization for this data work. In this chart, you can see some shared responsibility of work between suggested roles.



Principles to think about to get it right

  1.  Determine if the CRM should be the single source of truth
    1. Is it getting you where you need to go?
    2. Is it limiting getting jobs done, or not?
  2. Make sure you have the right people resources you need to build pipelines, etc
    1. A data consultancy can also build it to help you start 

  3. Get buy-in from leadership on the rollout plan
    1. It could take 6 months or more to do it right
    2. Communicate the benefits you'll get along the way, not just the benefits at the end. Phase out the benefits. No one likes to wait.

 Skills needed for this work

  1. Relational databases -- collections of spreadsheets connected together
  2. SQL Basics then you can use generative AI to customize it. SQL is a way to read and query databases. Learn to read and edit, the basics, and AI can do the rest now.
  3. Python is optional -- a beginner-friendly coding language. At Amazon Web Services, his colleague learned Python to make big system-wide changes instead of doing thousands of CRM clicks.


  • The CRM can be a single source of truth
  • A data warehouse can be a better solution but you need resources and a strategy
  • A great start on this journey is to develop database and SQL skills


Leaders would go to the RevOps team with data requests, so now they're merging both teams, RevOps and Data. Where should the engineers live? The data teams don't understand business requirements.

Darrell said he has not seen that often, though RevOps should own analytics and get a seat at the strategy table. But managing engineer resources can be above our heads since we are business leaders not tech leaders. You may need to hire technical leaders to report to the RevOps leader. Otherwise, the technical talent (engineers) will get bored or lose trust in a leader if the leader doesn't understand engineering. You need a role model for the technical team.

This is a problem of balancing business alignment with career trajectory paths, similar to the problem of deciding where to put SDRs in the organization structure. Do you put them in sales or marketing? What is the next step in their career? They don't usually want to learn marketing, even though their current role might make more sense to have in the marketing department. They usually want to be on the sales team as their next role.

There was a question about database health and hygeine best practices and how to ensure it gets done.

Darrell said database health and hygiene are never appreciated by leadership anywhere, even at Amazon Web Services (a database company), so start with the biggest pain points of your teams.

Balance the things that make ops look good with things that need to be done.

Educate people on how standardized clean data gets their goals achieved.

Audience member Julia uses a data hygiene score and hygiene dashboard to help.


There was also a question about documentation. ๐ŸŽ‰ It may have been related to data hygiene, above.

Darrell said documentation is part of this, how to prioritize projects, submit bugs, and change logs. You need to have a good leader who prioritizes it and who has a mindset that a project is not done until it is documented and published.

Create a data dictionary to reference, but it may be too technical for some teams, so use an AI chatbot fed from the documentation so the revenue teams can ask the data dictionary a question in simple language and receive an answer.


Someone had a question about cost justification for a data team with three people minimum and the tooling costs.

Darrell said to give leadership a taste of what is possible in a small version, like creating reporting that now takes several days to activate data from multiple systems. Complete a manual trial and a slide deck, such as, "It took us five weeks to do this, but it's so valuable. We could make a real-time dashboard of if we had resources." Make projections of the ROI of hiring the team and tools, and be prepared for the leader to poke holes in those ROI numbers.

Someone in the audience said they'd pay a consultancy or freelance temporary talent to do an audit and recommendations since that is usually a low cost to start.


Read or subscribe to Darrell's newsletter for more insights!


Mastering change management, from Linsay Miller

Linsay Miller, VP of Revenue Operations at OneStream Software, taught a session on one of my favorite topics, change management. Linsay started working at OneStream before there were ops people, and now there are 30 people in RevOps in the past 3 years -- proving there has been a lot of change in the company and she really knows what she's teaching about!


What is change management?

  • Preparing, equipping & supporting impacted employees through changes to how
    they do their jobs
  • Mobilize people to deliver expected results & outcomes in times of change
  • Helping employees through their own personal change journey

Notice the word people or employees in every sentence!

Change management is HOW not WHAT, not the changes themselves.

It is not checklists, control, communication, or a lot of activity happening.

It's the people solving the problems that you didn't know existed.

It is especially needed for process optimization, new tech implementation, and shifts and strategy...which are usually responsibilities of RevOps people!

Why is it needed?

 Change is necessary but it is often perceived as bad, so you need to expect and overcome these perceptions.

  • 94% of companies said they experience resistance to change
  • The average GTM (go-to-market) team experiences 10 significant changes a year. So many! Probably more in 2023.
  • 74% report change fatigue (important to note, since Lorena also quoted this in her panel!)
  • 66% of change initiatives fail. So people have had bad past experiences/baggage with change.
  • 81% of projects with effective change management will be under budget. That is a great reason to use it! 
  • 39% were skeptical to change but open to being told why, why is this change happening. That is promising!

Change management is not a one-size-fits-all strategy

See the slide in a section below with t-shirt sizes agile estimating model.

The factors involved in deciding the size of change management needed are:

  • time
  • effort
  • coordination
  • complexity
  • technology
  • experience
  • dependencies


Find a champion and reel them in

Champions are internal advocates who are influential and trusted by peers. Find one whose work or interests are related to the change you need to make. Someone who can be a devil's advocate, not a 'Yes Man,' who has experience with current future processes, and who is tech-savvy.

Use surveys of your company to gauge interest on the change topics including pain points, one-on-one conversations, meetings, and planning sessions to identify the champions.

Consider finding champions in several roles or levels, such as executives and senior management, the end users, and support resource people.

Find champions early and often, and keep them active from ideation through to kickoff to go live of the change. Keep them engaged by involving them in pilots, testing, demos, requirement gathering, vendor evaluation, and more.

Create a communication and enablement cadence

The foundation to making a change be accepted and stick is considering the "What's in it for me?" for each person expected to change. This is the one thing that will help you the most.


Communication options to use for change management (use a mix):

  • email
  • internal newsletter for reinforcement
  • part of a team or All Hands call
  • training call
  • drip campaign
  • virtual roadshow, in-person or a series of calls
  • post-live support post-go-live support -- such as a 'hot topics' or office hours call on a regular basis

See the slide below for suggestions of what types of communication to use for each size of change.


Keys to success in change management

  • Find the right approach, the right T-shirt size
  • Find and use champions
  • Frame it for each person's 'what's in it for me'
  • Communication and enablement 


Stay tuned for more blogs about the sessions I attended at RevOpsAF!

Topics:   RevOps, Education, Event